The Rev. Joseph Lowery, 87, is best known as a civil rights icon and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also comes from a liberal Christian mainline religious tradition, the United Methodist Church.
In 2000, Lowery, gave what was described as an electrifying speech calling for gay clergy, to the dinner during the general convention of the United Methodist Church, the nation's second largest Protestant denomination.
According to Affirmation, which describes itself as newsletter for United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns:
Lowery, noted over the years for his ability to not only "talk the talk" but "walk the walk," addressed a series of justice issues that still challenge us in this first year of the 21st century. Among these issues are ... the risk the church takes when it restricts, limits and excludes those whose orientation is homosexual. Dr. Lowery wondered out loud, "how could the church, because of a person's sexual orientation, deny ministry to those whom God has called?" He then suggested that he would prefer to err on the side of inclusion rather than exclusion.
When you talk about the law discriminating, the law granting a privilege here, and a right here and denying it there, that's a civil rights issue. And I can't take that away from anybody. So Obama's ceremony will begin and end with high profile pastors. He defended today the choice of megachurch pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life and omni-present evangelical figure on the public scene, to offer the invocation.
Critics observed that by doing so, they cut out a swath of American citizens who don't pray to Jesus but do want to say amen to blessings for their president. Franklin Graham gave no ground on this. Caldwell later said he would have handled his prayer differently, to be more inclusive.Will the prayers by Warren and Lowery include all the millions tuned in? Is this a civic event or a religious event? Can it be both? Will supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage be able to say, "Amen?"
There is no way you can compare this man who is going to unite us if we let him to Bush the Divide and Conquer Divider!